(Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire)
I have a confession to make: I have a giant man-crush on Christian Yelich. I’m not afraid to say it. Last night’s 4-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB line tied his career-best mark with 21 dongs, and he has a month and a half to pad that total. If you told me you think he’s going to make it to 30 by season’s end, I would not call you crazy. This already studly Brewer has done what a few experts called for in the preseason, which was to take a step forward from his already impressive skill set. He’s got career-best marks in hard contact and barrel percentage, has a 1.059 OPS in the 2nd half, and he’s got a very real chance to finish as a top 25 fantasy player this year. He’s the poster boy for underrated multi-category contributors this year, and it’s only a matter of time before the rest of the community catches wise on how good he is. I’ll be so bold as to say he goes in the 2nd round next year. Come at me!
Let’s take a look at some of the other performances from Wednesday:
Lorenzo Cain (OF, Milwaukee Brewers) – 3-5, RBI. Sure, the lack of double-digit jacks stinks, but he’s helping you out in virtually every other category. Ok, so maybe his RBI total leaves a bit to be desired, but he’s still stealing, scoring runs and hitting for average at elite levels. He’s now hit safely in 9 of his last 10 games.
Nick Castellanos (3B, Detroit Tigers) – 3-4, 2B. He’s had a disappointing 2nd half so far with just a .658 OPS coming into yesterday’s action. However, he’s picked it up over the last two weeks with a slash of .339/.400/.559. Still, I don’t trust any of the Tigers to produce massive stats down the stretch.
Logan Forsythe (2B, Minnesota Twins) – 3-5, RBI. If you need power, look elsewhere as he has just 2 dongs on the year total. As to what he actually can contribute, he’s slashed a cool .359/.423/.422 since coming over to Minnesota near the trade deadline. I wouldn’t bank on big stats in such an underwhelming lineup, but he could help you in average in AL-only leagues.
Paul Goldschmidt (1B, Arizona Diamondbacks) – 3-3, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI, BB. Taters Gonna Tate as that gives him 29 on the year. He’s going to finish with yet another year of impressive stats, but it probably won’t be what you expected from your 1st round pick especially considering the lack of speed. I will be interested to see if the decline in speed is enough to bump him down to the 2nd round next year. If so, I’m all in.
Bryce Harper (OF, Washington Nationals) – 3-5, 2 R, 2B, RBI, SB. This makes it 11 swipes on the year as he has a great shot at joining the hallowed 35 HR/15 SB. A random club indeed! Anyways, he’s rebounded nicely from his .214 average in the 1st half and is now slashing a robust .352/.434/.648 in the 2nd half. He’s stil very good at baseball.
Ryon Healy (1B/3B, Seattle Mariners) – 3-4, R, RBI. This makes it 3 multi-hit games in a row for the Kyle Seager wannabe. He has been hitting well over the last two weeks with a .310 average, but there are too many red flags in my book with that high strikeout rate and his refusal to take a walk.
Martin Maldonado (C, Houston Astros) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 3 RBI. This makes it 8 dongs on the year, but the Astros have about 27 catchers on their 25-man roster. I would take this as nothing more than a guy who had a good night. There’s virtually no upside here, but he has been slugging a decent .514 since coming over in a trade this past July.
Tyler White (1B, Houston Astros) – 3-5, 2 R, HR, 3B, 2 RBI. He’s found his way into an everyday spot in the Astros lineup some way or another since the end of July, and he’s been quietly productive in the interim. He’s actually sporting a crisp 1.035 OPS since July 29th, and he has a 44% hard contact mark as well to go with it. He did flash some decent pop in the minors, so keep an eye on White. He’s got the hot bat and great lineup to make him fantasy relevant down the stretch.
Jose Altuve (2B, Houston Astros) – 2-5, RBI, SB. Swipers Gonna Swipe as that gives him 15 on the year. It makes his owners crazy to see just 9 HR and general decline across the board from him as he seems to have reverted back to 2015 Altuve this year. Whatever the reason, you have to wonder if this discounts him for next year. Like my comment with Goldy, I’m all in if it does.
Javier Baez (2B/SS, Chicago Cubs) – 2-5, R, HR, 3 RBI. Last night brings his line up to an impressive 75 R/26 HR/92 RBI/20 SB/.292 on the year, and much like Yelich, it looks like we have a top 25 fantasy player on our hands by season’s end. He has cooled off mightily in terms of power and speed from the MVP pace he was on in the 1st half. Still, even with that regression, he’s had a fantastic year.
Adrian Beltre (3B, Texas Rangers) – 2-4, 2 RBI. Father Time always wins. He is undefeated. Adrian Beltre is just the next victim. He fought off Father Time for a good while, but the fight is over. Beltre is slashing just .248/.287/.347 over the last 30 games as his body continues to betray him this season. See you in Cooperstown, buddy.
Charlie Blackmon (OF, Colorado Rockies) – 2-5, R, SB. The production has taken a big hit from the MVP-level of last season, but he’s still managed to scrape together 22 HR, 7 SB, almost 100 runs and a .276 average. Most ballplayers would kill to have that be their regression season, but still, it wasn’t what owners drafted back in March. Like Goldy and Altuve, I wonder how this will discount him moving into next year.
Xander Bogaerts (SS, Boston Red Sox) – 2-5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI. That makes it 19 dongs on the year for the Sawx infielder, and if you look a little closer, you’ll notice this has been a breakout power year for Bogaerts. He currently has career-best marks in hard contact rate and launch angle plus he’s doubled his previous best mark in barrel percentage. The Red Sox can’t be stopped this year, and Bogaerts is right in the thick of it.
Justin Bour (1B, Philadelphia Phillies) – 2-5, 2 R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. This was actually his 1st dong in a Phillies’ uniform, and in fact, he had just 3 hits total in his new uniform since coming over August 12th. This now makes it 3 out of his last 4 full seasons with at least 20 dongs…for what that’s worth.
Nelson Cruz (DH, Seattle Mariners) – 2-4, 2 R, HR, 2B, RBI. Taters Gonna Tate as that now makes it 31 on the year for the slugger. This also makes it 5 consecutive seasons with at least 30 HR and 8 straight with at least 24 dongs. I see no reason why he can’t challenge for 40 jacks this year.
Ian Desmond (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-3, 2 R, 3B, 2 RBI, BB, SB. It’s hard to believe that he has the same number of swipes (15) as Jose Altuve, but here we are! That makes it 9 straight seasons with at least 13 swipes. That’s all well and good, but the steals are pretty much all he’s giving you lately especially when considering his .613 OPS in the 2nd half coming into this one.
Edwin Encarnacion (DH, Cleveland Indians) – 2-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI. This was his first game since August 10th as he just returned from the DL, and he reminded us all that Taters Gonna Tate. It’s good to see him picking up where he left off with the power, but you know it’s going to come with a low average at this point in his career.
Todd Frazier (3B, New York Mets) – 2-4, R, HR, 2B, 2 RBI. He’s actually been hitting pretty well over the last wo weeks slashing .333/.403/.593. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the Mets as a whole have actually been producing decently well as of late. Anyways, now that part is over, let’s talk Frazier. He’s flashed some high power upside in the past, so even if it’s just a hot streak, you could do worse than jumping on board here.
Carlos Gomez (OF, Tampa Bay Rays) – 2-3, 2 R, 2B, RBI, SB. This was his 10th swipe of the year, which actually means he has 11 consecutive seasons of double digit swipes. That unfortunately will not win you a title this year. Nor will Carlos Gomez. Leave him on the wire.
Kendrys Morales (DH, Toronto Blue Jays) – 2-4, R, HR, RBI. This makes it 5 HR in the last 4 games as Morales is a man possessed right now. That makes it 5 multi-hit games in his last 6, but the problem is I don’t trust this at all. While I’ve previously mentioned his underlying metrics hinted at bad luck earlier this year, I know the bottom will drop out without a moment’s notice. Ride it while it’s hot, but be ready to jump at the first sign of trouble.
Trevor Story (SS, Colorado Rockies) – 2-4, R, 2B, SB. Check out his sexy line of 66 R/26 HR/84 RBI/18 SB/.293! That’s great! Remember what I said about possible discounts to Goldy, Altuve, and Blackmon? Reverse that here. This outlier season will make him far too expensive for my blood heading into drafts next year.
Ronald Acuna (OF, Atlanta Braves) – 1-3, R, HR, RBI, BB. A rare example of a prospect actually matching the enormous hype placed on his shoulders. This is now 13 dongs in the 2nd half alone and 20 on the year. Is he really going to make us give him a tater label before he’s legally allowed to drink in this country?
David Bote (3B, Chicago Cubs) – 1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, 2 BB. He hit the most famous grand slam of the season a few weeks ago but has gone ice cold since. It’s a great story we will take away from this year, but he belongs on the waiver wire.
Jorge Polanco (SS, Minnesota Twins) – 1-4, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB. Remember him? A PED suspension got him earlier this year, but don’t forget about the power-speed combo he brings to the table. He’s a very sneaky play down the stretch if you need a multi-category contributor at middle infield.